business financial technology
Published on : Jan 11, 2023
Security, Sustainability and “As-a-Service” will be Prioritized by Businesses and Influence Customer Decision Making in New Year
AVANT, a platform for IT decision-making and the nation’s premier Technology Services Distributor, identified four ways channel partners can win new business and close deals faster, expand their share of wallet, and optimize the customer experience in 2023. Included in this outlook is the following guidance:
“In 2022, AVANT doubled down on increasing the depth and breadth of our portfolio of solutions and talent. These core differentiators, along with the resources provided to our Trusted Advisors, enhanced their expertise, and positioned our partners to grow and drive more revenue for their business,” said Ian Kieninger, CEO and Co-Founder, AVANT. “Additionally, our acquisition of PlanetOne and the launch of our Security Practice in Spring 2022 helped us generate more business value for our Trusted Advisors and welcome new faces to our community. In 2023, we will move even faster to empower our employees and Trusted Advisors to successfully navigate the evolving technology landscape through our relationships with leading global technology providers, our world-class research and Pathfinder Technology, and our training and education programs.”
Making the Right Investments at the Right Time in People, Process and Platforms
Pulling from its own playbook, AVANT sees mergers and acquisitions continue within the channel in 2023 and encourages Trusted Advisors to maintain focus on their team and their customers with an eye on culture, creativity, inclusion, and collaboration.
“Bringing our team together with the PlanetOne team—including one of the original pioneers of the agency business model, Ted Schuman, and 2022 Channel Influencer of the Year, Chris Werpy—has already reaped a number of key benefits for us and our Trusted Advisors,” said Drew Lydecker, Co-Founder and President, AVANT. “Also, the knowledge and expertise the PlanetOne team brings to the table from a project management perspective is helping us to enhance the back-office and post-sale experience. This is something that can’t be underestimated and will continue to be a significant focus for us in the coming year.”
Embrace As-a-Service and Prioritize Sustainability
During 2022, an increasing number of AVANT Trusted Advisors challenged traditional thinking by embracing As-a-Service. “Nobody can help a business digitize faster than a Trusted Advisor,” said Lydecker. “Businesses that aren’t already migrating to the As-a-Service model are running to catch up and savvy Trusted Advisors know this. The opportunities have never been bigger, and there is an incredible opportunity in play right now for Trusted Advisors to guide their customers in making the right choices.”
Lydecker also points out that higher customer expectations are driving the need to look at the business value of a solution, and that demand for solutions including Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS), Contact Center-as-a-Service (CCaaS) and Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) are creating opportunity. “In 2023, we will see the continued acceleration of CCaaS and UCaaS, businesses will also look more to DRaaS, something that has traditionally been a big miss in IT, but will become more prevalent,” Lydecker added.
He continued, “Sustainability will also be a key focus for Trusted Advisors and something they will need to address with their customers as pressure from consumers and governmental organizations increases. There will be greater emphasis placed on the disposal of hardware and the protection of data as traditional hardware solutions are increasingly displaced by As-a-Service. This is an area where Trusted Advisors can benefit from leveraging AVANT’s training and research geared toward the C-level buyer to educate their customers and partners.”
Omni-channel Communications to Drive Growth in CCaaS
Over the past twelve months, consumer communication preferences have evolved as the spending power of Millennials and Gen Z increases. “We have seen significant growth in CCaaS as more businesses adopt omni-channel communication approaches that include phone, but also text, chat, and video to enable the self-service capabilities often preferred by younger consumers,” said Brent Wilford, Senior Director, CX and Unified Communications, AVANT. “With the use of all of these technologies, however, come certain challenges, not the least of which is protecting the security and adhering to customer privacy rules and regulations.”
For AVANT Trusted Advisors, this growing complexity is creating opportunity for them to guide their customers in selecting the right technologies and services based on their business and its customer service use cases and target audiences. “We are proud to rank #1 or #2 with the industry’s top CCaaS providers and will continue to make investments in 2023 in helping our Trusted Advisors capture spend in this area,” added Wilford. “Organizations can successfully pivot to self-service and at-your-service models by taking inventory and selecting CCaaS providers whose technology adds value to their business, hiring resources and investing in their staff, as in the end an optimal employee experience equals a better customer experience.”
Use Security Solutions and Services to Unlock More Revenue
Today, businesses are prone to think about security as a cost of doing business, but according to AVANT Senior Director of Security, Stephen Semmelroth, “Businesses should instead be looking at security as a way to unlock revenue.”
Semmelroth offers this advice to Trusted Advisors:
1) Explain security in the context of “The Hero’s Journey.” Employees are the hero in their organization’s cybersecurity journey. When they seek out and apply what they’ve learned to their own behavior or routines at work, they are embarking on a journey to help their organization protect itself and other employees from potential security threats.
2) Think like an adversary. For Trusted Advisors, this should be one of the main goals in leading security conversations with customers. The key is to overcome “imposter syndrome” and think like a hacker. By thinking like a hacker and seeing the vulnerabilities within their customers’ businesses, Trusted Advisors can acutely understand what specific technologies and features are necessary to shore up the organization against security threats.
3) You don’t have to be a wizard to sell security. Again, this is where the “imposter syndrome” comes into play. It’s impossible for a single person to go both deep and wide in every security discipline. A Trusted Advisor does NOT have to be an engineer. They can be a non-technical business leader in the security industry.
4) Invest in the right technologies. A Trusted Advisor should start with what they know best. Key investment areas should include, in this order – DDoS protection; Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BC/DR); incident response, managed detection and response (MDR); Identity Access Management (IAM); Privileged Access Management (PAM); Extended Detection and Response (XDR); Secure Service Edge (SSE); outsourcing; network security; and patching.
“It’s important for Trusted Advisors to remember that security problems do not exist because of threats, the threats exist because of security problems,” said Semmelroth. “This is why Trusted Advisors can add such tremendous value for their customers with the training, education and resources we provide them here at AVANT.”
For AVANT and its Trusted Advisors, 2023 will be about making the right investments and embracing the “As a Service” model, including omni-channel communications strategies and security offerings, to unlock more revenue and drive business growth. To enable and guide Trusted Advisors on this journey, AVANT offers a number of resources including AVANT Analytics, training and educational events, AVANT Technology Insights, and Pathfinder.